Saint Mary’s @ Arizona State
December 18, 2019 Talking Stick Arena, 6PM PST
Saint Mary’s game Preview: This Wednesday comes another showdown between the WCC and PAC-12 as Saint Mary’s will travel to Phoenix, AZ to square off in a “neutral” site game against Arizona State. I put the neutral in parenthesis because Talking Stick Arena is a stone’s throw away from Arizona State, so this game will have much more of a home feel for the Sun Devils. While this game is being played in Arizona, this will be the second time that the Gaels play in Talking Stick Arena, so they will at least have some familiarity with the court. Without further delay let’s get into what to expect.
Arizona State is riding a 5 game win streak coming into this matchup, including a 20 point throttling of Georgia on 12/14/19, a game which they controlled the entire way. Arizona State is led by Junior Guard Remy Martin, who is averaging 20.3 PPG on 46/36/75 shooting splits. He is a quick guard who can get his shot at will, and coupled with Arizona State’s fast tempo and his defensive prowess, he can really rack up points in a hurry. Alongside Remy Martin is Redshirt Junior Guard Romello White. Romello is averaging a double-double this year (12.7PPG, 10.8 RPG), and at 6’8″ he is an explosive forward who can really give opposing big’s problems.
Saint Mary’s is coming off a 12-point victory over Cal this past Saturday, a game that saw Jordan Ford and Malik Fitts combine for 60 points on 19-26 shooting, talk about efficient! Saint Mary’s will look to continue to add to its tournament resume, and a win over Arizona State (#67 in KenPom) will certainly help. To date Saint Mary’s only quality wins are against Wisconsin (#52 in KenPom) on a neutral court and Utah St. (#49 on KenPom) at home. After this matchup they won’t face another top 75 KenPom opponent until conference play begins.
Dont Miss Out On This Game
There is a lot to look forward to in this game, as both teams have high scoring guards and forwards who can put up points in bunches. It is safe to say that both Martin and Ford will most likely get to their season averages, so the real test will be which team can slow down the opponents role players. Malik Fitts has been on an absolute tear as of late, averaging 19 PPG and 9.8 RPG over the last 5 games. Slowing him down will be a must if Arizona State wants any chance of winning this game.
Ultimately this game will come down to tempo. Arizona State plays at one of the fastest paces in the country, averaging 76.4 possessions per game which ranks 36th in the country. If they are able to get close to this number it will be tough for Saint Mary’s to keep up scoring wise. On the contrary, Saint Mary’s averages only 66 possessions per game, good for 343 in the country. This is a classic Hare and the Tortoise scenario, and ultimately whichever teams controls the tempo of the game will most likely come out with the win.
Saint Mary’s game Preview
Prediction: Saint Mary’s-74 Arizona State-69
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